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King’s official portrait for public buildings unveiled

A new official portrait has been unveiled of the King – ready to hang in public buildings across the UK as part of a controversial £8 million Government-funded scheme.

Charles is pictured in full regalia inside Windsor Castle wearing his Royal Navy uniform as an Admiral of the Fleet and an abundance of official medals and decorations.

The monarch was captured last year by photographer Hugo Burnand, who also took the King and Queen’s coronation portraits and their 2005 wedding photos.

A serious-looking Charles stands in the royal residence’s Grand Corridor as he rests his right hand on his pristine white gloves on an antique table and grasps a sword in his left.

The Cabinet Office has released a new official portrait of the King for displaying in public buildings
The Cabinet Office has released a new official portrait of the King for displaying in public buildings (Hugo Burnand/Royal Household/Cabinet Office/PA)

Councils, courts, schools, police forces and fire and rescue services are among the UK institutions now able to apply to claim the formal, framed portrait of the monarch for free.

The Cabinet Office said the move carries on the tradition which saw many institutions display official portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.

But anti-monarchy campaign group Republic branded the initiative a “shameful waste of money” when it was announced ahead of the coronation last year.

Graham Smith, chief executive of Republic, said: “At a time when a majority of local councils are raising taxes and cutting public services, when schools and hospitals are struggling, to spend even £1 on this nonsense would be £1 too much.”

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A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II hangs on the wall at King’s House in Kingston, Jamaica (Toby Melville/PA)

He added: “The Government has lost the plot if they think people want their money spent on pictures of Charles. They need to scrap this scheme and direct the money where it’s really needed.”

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden said: “The accession of His Majesty The King marked a new chapter in our national story.

“Displaying this new portrait will serve as a reminder to us all of the example set by our ultimate public servant and I hope as many eligible organisations as possible will wish to continue this proud British tradition and honour our King’s reign.”

The Cabinet Office said: “His Majesty’s accession has marked the beginning of a new reign and the UK Government considers it right that public authorities, as part of the fabric of our nation, have the opportunity to commemorate this moment, strengthen civil pride and reflect the new era in our history.”

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The scheme was announced ahead of the King and Queen’s coronation (Leon Neal/PA)

On his Admiral of the Fleet (No. 1 Tailcoat), the King is wearing his Garter Collar and Sovereign’s badge and Garter Star, his Thistle Star, the Bath Sovereign’s badge, his Order of Merit, the Royal Victorian Order’s Royal Victorian Chain and GCVO Sash, as well as a host of medals on his medal bar.

In February, the scheme will be extended to include town, parish and community councils and Ministry of Defence-sponsored cadet forces.

The portraits are expected to be delivered between February and April this year.